HOME SWEET HOME – YES NO NOT GIVEN EXERCISE

HOME SWEET HOME

A Culture shock is not an uncommon phenomenon. Most of us, when travelling to unfamiliar shores would be shocked not to suffer some disorientation at being flung into a new time zone, operating under a different set of beliefs and traditions to those we are used to. However, reverse culture shock – that same sensation experienced upon returning to one’s home country after time spent abroad – is often an unexpected surprise. The extent to which one suffers will depend upon many factors. However, re-entry in the worst of cases can lead to the asking of such basic existential questions as ‘who am I?’ or ‘where do I belong?’

B To answer these questions, it is necessary to consider the often pleasurable experience of first setting foot in the foreign country that is to become your home and the four phases of the subsequent cultural readjustment. First is the honeymoon period. Upon arriving, a stage of acclimatisation is expected and often exciting, as new cuisine, timetables and customs are discovered. A new language may be challenging, you may have a new job, new friends and neighbours, a new home. Yet once the novelty wears off, it may be replaced by feeling lonely and homesick. This is the negotiation period, followed by the adjustment phase, during which, over time, these ‘fish-out-of-water’ feelings subside, until you subconsciously adopt the once strange and foreign as extended facets of yourself.  This place now feels like home and the fourth stage – adaptation – is complete.

C But what is home? Craig Storti in his book The Art of Coming Home gives two definitions. The most literal is that home is the place you are raised, where you share a language and behaviour with others. The more profound is that ‘home’ relates to feeling and routines, the place you are understood, accepted and forgiven, where you can truly ‘be yourself’. And here begins the problem. Those who have spent significant time abroad, and have paid visits to their country of origin are undoubtedly familiar with the euphoria of catching up with loved ones, knowing they will soon be back ‘home’ and again living their daily routine. The very definition of ‘home’, and with it identity of self, can become confused as sufferers feel they have one foot firmly planted in each culture, yet actually find themselves neither here nor there.

D The enthusiasm those living abroad feel when visiting their homeland can be replicated when returning permanently. Feelings of longing for ‘home’, having possibly been idealised, may make the prospect a shining one. Storti, quoting a theory proposed by Lysgaard in 1955, views the transition as U-shaped, with this initial feeling a high point. Nevertheless, once reality sets in and initial euphoria wears off, it can be quickly replaced by alienation. You no longer feel you fit into your own culture, family, friendship network, customs: home. This is the bottom of the U. Gullahorn and Gullahorn expanded the U hypothesis in 1963, introducing their W-curve hypothesis, exemplifying both the initial shock and that felt upon returning. Both ‘shocks’ may be considered to contain the same four aforementioned phases.

E This dip to the depths of the second U can be explained by several factors. Firstly, you have come to view old norms, values, faces and places from a ‘foreign’ perspective not available to you pre-travel. Additionally, returners’ expectations may be of ‘taking up where you left off’, only to find a new reality that appears similar, yet whose functions are completely alien. Further considerations are the voluntary or involuntary nature of one’s return, length of time abroad, the degree of interaction with the foreign culture, and the levels of difference between it and the home culture. Research suggests millions of people, their families and children included, are affected by culture shock at any one time, the reverse type being much more complex to overcome due to its unexpected nature.

F So, how to deal with this and the questions raised earlier? The US Department of State, in offering advice to repatriates, states three main considerations. Firstly, you have changed. Your recent life-changing experience means your idea of self has evolved and morphed. Additionally, home and your perceptions of it have been redefined, along with your relationships and, finally, your culture has changed. Having taken on a new cultural identity, now you must adapt anew. Storti also discusses four effects seen during this process. Those returning can become highly critical and judgemental of the home environment, in addition to feeling marginalised as they no longer fit in. A change in day-to-day routines, paying attention to patterns and customs can be exhausting, and these former three points and the disconnection they create, can lead to withdrawal and depression.

G As more research into the condition becomes available, maybe combating it will lie in being aware of it beforehand and creating the mentality to deal with it: forewarned is forearmed. Pico Iyer, a British-born essayist and novelist of Indian origin, residing mainly in the US for the last 48 years, yet spending as much time as possible in Japan over the last 25, offers sound advice. In a talk for TED he discusses his multiple ‘origins’, rationalising them as ‘taking pieces of many places and putting them together in a stained glass whole’. He goes on to discuss home as anything but a physical place, echoing Storti’s second definition of home, stating ‘home has less to do with a piece of soil than a piece of soul’, suggesting the new international, intercultural you is a positive to be embraced, not a negative to be denied.

True false not given practice

Home sweet home reading questions

YES if the statement agrees with the writer
NO if the statement contradicts the writer
NOT GIVEN if it is impossible to say what the writer  thinks about this

36 Expatriates feel a sense of isolation in new countries because everything is so new.

37 There are four stages to the process of readjusting back to your home culture.

38 People don’t anticipate reverse culture shock, which makes it harder to deal with.

39 Those who return to their home country are more sensitive to their fellow countrymen’s opinions.

40 People who live abroad make a choice to identify with either their home culture or the foreign culture.

Home sweet home reading answers

36. NG

37. Y (Paragraph D Both ‘shocks’ may be considered to contain the same four aforementioned phases.)

38. Y  (Paragraph E Research suggests millions of people, their families and children included, are affected by culture shock at any one time, the reverse type being much more complex to overcome due to its unexpected nature.)

39. NG  (Paragraph F-Those returning can become highly critical and judgemental of the home environment, in addition to feeling marginalised as they no longer fit in)

40. N (Paragraph G– In a talk for TED he discusses his multiple ‘origins’, rationalising them as ‘taking pieces of many places and putting them together in a stained glass whole’. He goes on to discuss home as anything but a physical place, echoing Storti’s second definition of home, stating ‘home has less to do with a piece of soil than a piece of soul’, suggesting the new international, intercultural you is a positive to be embraced, not a negative to be denied.)

Complete ielts bands 4-5

ieltsboosting
ieltsboosting
Articles: 231